Stepping up the game at SAB

A world-first in beer can packaging and a limited edition aluminium bottle make their timely launch as South Africa takes centre stage for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Bafana Can

The world’’s largest soccer tournament has finally arrived in South Africa and, with every top-class sports event comes the innovative, fun and sometimes tacky memorabilia. However, while the nation is in the grip of World Cup fever some national treasures, thankfully, just keep getting better. As South Africa takes centre stage as soccer hosts, South African Breweries (SAB), SABMiller’’s South African subsidiary, is making its own mark in history with the launch of a world-first ‘easy-open’ Bafana Bafana supporters’ beer can and a prestige brushed-aluminium bottle, for its premium brand beers Castle Lager and Castle Lite.

Developed by Crown Holdings and Bevcan, the new Bafana can’s full aperture end allows the entire lid to be removed, turning the can itself into a smooth-edged drinking cup and removing the need for glassware and draught installations. The can is designed to reduce queues at bars around the event, with a faster serving time, without compromising the drinking experience. ‘”We designed a supporters’ can that can be used post-World Cup and in specially located branded “speed bars” within stadiums and event venues across the country,”’ explains Trevor Coleman, NPD manager, SAB.

The can is currently available in three ‘unbranded’ designs containing Castle Lager, Castle Lite and Redds Dry at the ten official countrywide fan zones during the World Cup. The ‘easy-open’ can is fully recyclable, and has been developed exclusively for SABMiller, with SAB in South Africa as the lead market.

Comments Maurice Egan, SABMiller’s group head of manufacturing, ‘”With a predicted 400 000 visitors expected to visit South Africa and an anticipated 4% to 6% increase in demand for beer, the new can is a timely and practical innovation which has the potential to revolutionise beer drinking at large scale events.”

Using a combination of Crown’’s food and beverage can technology, the full aperture end provides an exciting alternative to traditional cans and glass bottles, which are often prohibited at stadiums and arenas around the world. The Bafana Bafana can also offers environmental benefits, as metal cans are recycled repeatedly without loss of quality. In addition, the beverage can is the most recycled drinks pack in the world.

Premium product innovation

The premium quality limited edition brushed-aluminium bottle (top pic left), developed in collaboration with Nampak Divfood, is the masterpiece of a truly South African project that has been five years in the making.

“‘It really is a first in packaging in the South African beer market,”’ enthuses Ken Gosnell, NPD packaging manager, SAB. ‘”Castle Lager has strong roots in South African soccer, having sponsored Bafana Bafana for the last 18 years, and the PSL for 41 years; and the original idea was to develop a collector’s’ edition gift pack for future events and corporate customers.’”

The 2010 World Cup tournament is proving to be the perfect launch pad for its success, with not only local supporters clamouring for something special to take home but also a host of foreign visitors, some of whom will be trying SAB beers for the first time. The special edition brushed-aluminium 400ml bottle is produced by a punching process and rotating dies that form the neck profile. It’’s exposed to a wash and print operation, pasteurisation and internal lacquering. Unique to SAB, its diameter and height is suitable for existing lines and is filled and packed at SAB’s Chamdor brewery. State-of-the-art soft handling ensures fast and efficient packing with no scuffing.

The Bafana Bafana print, designed by Berge Farrell, stays true to the unmistakable Castle Lager branding, and the bottle structure and surface has a premium, sophisticated look and feel. Available from larger bottle stores countrywide and airport duty free shops and bars, the special Castle Lager bottle can be purchased as a two-design three-pack, presented in a vibrant, printed slimline window carton from Nampak Cartons & Labels, Denver. The carton is produced by using 18g/m2 wet-strength board from Riverwood, Canada, and incorporates a built-in double flap and crack base. A shrinkwrapped six-pack is also available to airlines and bars.

Secondary case packaging, used for transport of eight three-pack cartons, is manufactured and printed by Nampak Corrugated, Wadeville. The Castle Lite aluminium bottle is shrinkwrapped exclusively for News Café, and served individually across the bar.

For post-match parties back at the car, SAB has also recently introduced its Castle Lager Bula Boot (open boot) cooler box (see Clive’’s Column, June 2010). The box, constructed by Nampak Corrugated, holds 24 cans and has a leak-proof liner, allowing for lots of ice to keep beer nicely chilled.

[See an earlier report on this topic]

First published in PACKAGiNG & Pring Media Magazine, June 2010